Thursday 24 September, 2020

UNC on domestic violence: Focus on legislation, protection

Citizens must come together and be their sisters’ and brothers’ keepers.

The call to action from the United National Congress (UNC) comes in light of the ongoing national conversation on gender-based violence, following the recent murders of women at the hands of their former partners.

In a statement on Wednesday, the party distanced itself from the personal opinion shared by former health minister Dr Fuad Khan who suggested that soca music was to blame for violence against women.

It said its position on the matter is in recognition of the seriousness of the matter – calling on Government to strengthen the legislative and physical protection of women in T&T’s society. 

UNC leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, has indicated that one of the priorities of a UNC-led administration will be to prioritise legislation to replace the Domestic Violence Act with new, modern, comprehensive law that will grant the courts unique powers to deliver effective remedies to bring actual relief to victims of domestic violence. 

“These laws will also equip law enforcement with the necessary powers to deal with all manner of situations and for the first time in the Commonwealth Caribbean, we will be enacting laws that will be aimed at the rehabilitation of offenders of domestic violence and the rebuilding of the family unit.”

The party took note of the announcement by Police Commissioner Gary Griffith that a new Gender-Based Violence Unit will soon be operational, and commended him for the initiative. 

The UNC said there was an urgent need for more to be done to protect the country’s girls and women.   

The party said a greater level of advocacy was required on those willing to lend their support to victims of gender-based violence.

“We must stand in support of the women who are bravely speaking out against their attackers, and for those who cannot, or who may be reluctant to speak out. We must be their voices and demand action.” 

The party said gender-based violence is an urgent matter requiring careful consideration and input from a wide range of stakeholders, especially given its impact on national development.

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